Q: I recently gave my life to Christ while at university. However, I am really struggling with my quiet time especially in understanding the bible. Please can you give me some tips? – Cynthia, Birmingham
A: Understand that when you pick up your Bible, when you delve into the Word of God, you are equally delving into God! ‘And the word was God’, this very phrase is my testimony to how I got so into the Word of God.
I was frustrated, like many Christians. I felt like I wasn’t ‘hearing’ God, like there was absolutely no connection. Prayer didn’t help because I had no scriptural foundation to my prayer. But one day, I read that scripture, John 1:1. A scripture that I had heard so many times, but in that one moment God assured me that this is how He will speak to me, this is how I can connect with Him, this is how my prayer life will get better. By reading His Word – which IS Him!
Many struggle with reading the Bible because they are reading with fleshly expectations and flesh understanding void of any spiritual foundation.
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. – 1 Corinthians 2:14
The scripture says it all! You need The Spirit – The Holy Spirit to fully understand the Bible. It is essential to pray prior to reading God’s word – pray for a revelation and a ‘God-type’ of understanding.
In terms of what to start studying, everyone has their opinion. Some say read Proverbs and Psalms first. Some say read the gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Some say you only need to focus on the New Testament.
I strongly disagree with the latter. You should not ignore any part of the Bible, all is to be read in good time!
The great thing about the Bible is that it’s not just a historical book, it’s a spiritual book.
Yes, there are two big breaks in the bible – The Old Testament and The New Testament; Before Christ and after Christ following into our reconciliation with Him and further edification for the church.
Some say the Bible is a bit like Past, Present and Future. We have the Old Testament which has great rich history and events to learn from. From the establishment of kings, possession of lands, God’s promises, prophesies to the foreshadowing of redemption. The New Testament focuses on the present day church, Jesus’ ministry, the display of God’s amazing grace and as I said, further edification for the church. Then we have the book of Revelation (like the future)…which everyone avoids lool.
Also, using a bible plan has really worked for me. Some of the bible plans I use include:
You must must must get a Bible version that you can understand!
- New Living Translation
- The Message Bible
- New King James Bible
The first two, are awesome for those who are new to The Word. NIV, NKJV, Amplified are useful concordants for Bible studies, great for cross referencing etc. You need a concordant, meaning that you need something that will break down the words and make it clear/understandable for you! Amplified is awesome for that. Use your dictionary to define words, use Google!
Don’t wait for the ‘feeling’ to read your Bible to come. ‘Do’ and your feelings will catch up!
The Great thing about the Bible…
The great thing about the bible is that it is not just a historical book even though it has a lot of history in it. It is a spiritual book.
Also, you can get many revelations from the same passage of scripture. Why…? Because the Bible is the Living Word! It is spiritual and we have the Holy Spirit who is there to reveal things to us that are relevant to our present situation and events to come. I found it amazing during the Bible Challenges, how everyone caught a different understanding of the same passage we were studying.
Discipline is Key!
You have to be disciplined, you have to be consistent! There will be times when you feel like skipping reading your Bible for the day. Times when you ‘feel’ like there is no point in reading God’s word. Please do not give into those feelings – they are from the enemy himself!!!
As I said before, the Bible is your weapon. You need to understand that because the enemy does too. That is why he rejoices when we neglect our Bibles and leave them to gather dust. He knows the power that resides in a believer who knows and lives by God’s word. It was that same scriptural weapon that Jesus used to combat the temptations from the devil (Matthew 4:1-11).
Sometimes you have to ‘do’ and then ‘feel’. Don’t wait for the ‘feeling’ to read your Bible to come. ‘Do’ and your ‘feelings’ will catch up. Your emotions need to be under your authority.
A few side points:
- Read the Bible with an expectant heart! You will not be disappointed.
- Share the revelations and understanding that you get from reading scripture.
ASK QUESTIONS when you don’t get something!For more information, you can read this blog post I wrote about reading the bible and also watch the video in it.
This week’s answer was provided by Kanayo Dike-Oduah. Kanayochukwu aka Kanayo is a Teacher of Psychology, author of bible challenges, creator of devotional journals (which are available for purchase on Amazon) and sister to many.
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